Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent - Love

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24

The most beautiful thing I have learned in my journey with Christ is that no one deserves love.

Not one of us. We are saved by the Grace of God, and that alone.

No matter how good we think we are, how obedient, how generous – we have all sinned and fallen short of the grace of God.  We all have places of ugliness in our lives and we all continue to grow through them and see how God’s infinite love has truly saved us. That is the amazing beauty of grace freely given to an entirely undeserving people.

Tomorrow we celebrate the day that God, the Almighty Creator, took on the most vulnerable of all human forms – a helpless, dependent baby – to save the world while it still rejected him.  Now, that’s a love full of grace. That is real, larger than life, amazing love. The beautiful thing about this great big story? We know it’s real because we see it acted out every day.  Love grows when it’s fed by the choices of a grace filled heart.

You choose to hope in a hopeless situation? Love grows.

When you choose peace when you have the right to argue? Love grows.

When you choose joy instead of anger? Love grows.

The truth is, it’s easy to see the negative things. The driver who cut you off, The angry person yelling in the park, The guy that is in such a hurry to catch the train that he knocks you over and doesn’t even say “sorry.”  Those stories stick in your hearts and eat your joy for breakfast - killing love.  

In the process of noticing and pointing out those things, though, we miss absolutely radiant beauty and love that is everywhere!  When I stopped to look around for love, I saw that Boston is just overflowing with it! Like Mary-Ann, who stops to visit her friend Mark, who is homeless, when she has to do a burrito run for work, and not only remembers his birthday, but gives him a card and a present – that’s God’s Love! The stranger who holds the door for me when I’m struggling to carry my stuff – there it is again!

Little acts of love are all around us. We just have to train our brains to notice them. I can guarantee that when you start seeing all the love in the world, it will change your life.

A friend of mine has named this concept “The Love Snowball.” We make love snowballs when we pass forward kindness: one act of kindness inspires another, which inspires another, then another and the more love you pass forward, the bigger it gets! Eventually this love snowball will turn into a great big avalanche (love-alanche) of care and kindness, washing over everything in its path! It is an absolute miracle to watch this love grow in the community. Regardless of background, choices or circumstances, we are all loved infinitely more than we could ever dream of deserving. This Christmas I cannot wait to get out and tell people that they are loved exactly where they are.

No conditions.
No maybes.
No changes.
Just as they are.
We all have flaws and we all have ugliness but I rejoice that I am a child of a God who knows even my ugly thoughts and that He truly loves me and blesses me anyway. I encourage you and challenge you all to spread light at every turn. It’s just as contagious and easy as spreading negativity, but it heals you and heals others as well. Hope, Peace and Joy build a heart set on love. Without even one of those things, love is not complete.
It is my prayer for everyone reading this, that as we move into this day of great celebration you will have hope for the future, peace with your past, joy in the present and love overwhelming your heart! 
God Bless & Merry Christmas! 
- Jessica Fothergill, CSM Boston Associate City Director

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